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VIC (Very Important Client) Spotlight

Sherrie has been a client of MMFW since 2013, when she had taken on a second job teaching ESL for Wake Tech, two nights on week.  On top of her full-time teaching position at Sanderson High, she realized that all that standing and helping others was going to take a toll on her body. Sherrie decided that with the added responsibility, it was crucial to her well-being to improve on her self-care, and her search for massage close to her brought her to Linda’s table.  She’s been a regular ever since, with a standing appointment every other week.

After completing her undergraduate work at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sherrie worked at a small rural school before movingVery Important Client Sherrie to Raleigh in 2006, when she accepted a teaching position at Sanderson High, and she’s been there ever since.

Her first three years of teaching had completely different challenges than the ones she faces today at Sanderson. Many of the children in the rural community had to work with their families to help provide.  At the time, the area was also facing demographic changes with an influx of Hispanic residents, and community members were navigating the area’s new identity, which posed it’s own challenges.  She felt she had more of a relationship with kids and parents in a small school.

In a city school, it is more challenging, with more students.  While relationships still exist, with the inclusion of more technology in everyday life, the students more distracted.  Combined with less school funding, it is a lot harder to teach.  There have been no new materials since 2004, making the new curriculum hard to use, with no new resources to support it.  To navigate this huge challenge, like many other educators, she utilizes an online resource “Teachers Pay Teachers”, which she considers “her lifeline”.  Spends well over $250 a year on lesson plans alone. Sherrie says the site is “a huge lifesaver when you don’t have time to develop materials because you’re in the classroom full-time.”   She also spends quite a lot on  basic classroom supplies like kleenex, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and markers for whiteboard.  Fortunately, some parents donate supplies, which helps some.

When asked if she had any advice for folks considering becoming a teacher, Sherrie said “you have to accept the harsh truth…you really need to shadow an educator for a while, and pay attention to what is going on in the state you want to teach in.  Stay informed as to what’s happening in schools, and pick the best situation for you.  If your heart guides you in this direction, do your research.”

When she first moved to Raleigh, Sherrie found it challenging to meet people.  She decided to fill her free time wisely, and pursued her Master’s in Education at an international school for Spanish teachers from American and Canada. She spent a few summers at the university in Spain, and also worked online during year with other students to complete the coursework.  Even with the travel, she found it more affordable to get her degree in another country versus here in the U.S.

Her love for travel brought her to do this program…as Sherrie says, “It’s a perk of being a teacher with no children…with the time of in the summer, it’s a lot easier to travel if you budget your money.” She has traveled to Peru, Japan, and Mexico.  Her love of travel began as a child,  She grew up in the Jacksonville area, but travelled a lot as a child.

Her other passion is dancing.  After trying to meet people in Raleigh with little success via meetup, she started going to Carmen’s for salsa dancing, and finally started developing friendships through there. She tends to let of the most steam with dancing, be it salsa, samba, belly-dancing, African, and even some ballroom.

The rest of her free time is spent decompressing…Besides the occasional Netflix binge,  she enjoys reading…her favorites are historical fiction, self-help/female empowerment, and  autobiographies about social justice warriors.  Her most recent read was Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, based on true story of an AA nurse working in a hospital and her experience with a white supremacist family.

When asked about the best thing she’s ever done for herself, Sherrie shared that early on, she realized she needed to see what was outside her own environment.  Once she confronted her fear surrounding that, everything else fell in place. Because of this, it’s not an issue for her to go on adventures…she doesn’t get paralyzed by fear. As she says “Life happens, you have to confront whatever is in your path, face the fear and push through the doubts and fatigue.  It’s the only way to accomplish anything challenging.”

Because of her travels, she has experienced a few scary moments.  The most memorable being stuck in a traffic jam in a rough neighborhood in Peru, a group of young adults were running along looking for car doors to open.  Her taxi driver pulled out a gun for protection as she witnessed a vehicle in front of her get robbed.

Her most amazing travel experience occurred in Peru.  While in middle of the Andes mountains, hiking the Incan trail on the way to the Machu Picchu.  While it was a really tough hike…her quads hurt just thinking about it. Looking at the snow-capped mountains was awe inspiring…it helped her figure out her place in the world.  It took a lot of inner strength to make that hike.

Locally, her favorite place in North Carolina is the beach. Topsail and Emerald Isle are her favorites, nut she’s not too picky…she just wants to see the ocean and feel it relax her.  In the Triangle area, she is again a fan of bodies of water:  she likes walking around Shelley Lake and Lake Lynn.

The biggest thing Sherrie want to do is get to the continent of Africa, where she’d like to visit some of the countries her DNA comes from…Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, and Togo are on her list. She’d like to study dance there a little bit, and experience small village life.

When “Aunt Flow” Visits and There’s no Door to Knock On

How do you handle your period?

Me, I like to curl up in bed, sweats on, heating pad on high, nice hot cup of earl grey and the darkest of dark chocolate. The comforts of home during that time of my cycle are everything I need.

The average woman uses 16,800 feminine products in a lifetime.  If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good you can go to the store, purchase what you need, take a shower every day, and put on clean clothes regularly.

Unfortunately, many women aren’t so privileged when it comes to periods. Never mind basic comfort, women experiencing homelessness face much worse when “aunt flow” comes to visit. They face a losing battle every month when it comes to their periods:

  • Lack of sanitary products: A lot of shelters don’t keep these products stocked, yet they are the most requested, and least donated, items. Many women are left choosing between pads or tampons and a meal.
  • Lack of clean running water: Women experiencing homelessness have largely interrupted access to running water. A nice hot bath or shower is not an option.  Imagine having your period and not being able to bathe properly.
  • Health risks due to unhygienic practices: Without access to proper products, women who are homeless resort to using newspapers, rags, cut up pads as tampons. With limited access to facilities, it’s difficult to clean up, leading to infections.

Menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. That’s why Metamorphic Massage for Women and The North Raleigh Well Nest have set out to make the women in our community a little more comfortable. We will be taking donations of personal care items at our open house and all summer long. All donations will go to the Women’s Center of Wake County.

-Contributed by Karla E. Frank Coley